Every year sportswear brands invest millions in research so they can design the perfect piece of kit to help athletes compete at their very best. Recently Jess has been testing out the new Climachill range from adidas, an evolution in sports cooling technology. Climachill takes cooling to the next level with advances in fabric composition and fit to help athletes stay cooler, dry and feel more comfortable. This range combines aluminium cooling spheres on the back neck line, with SubZero yarn made from titanium to create a mesh like fabric. Together they help regulate your body temperature and enhance your training, leaving you to focus on improving your performance and techniques and thus shave vital seconds off your time. But Jess wore a completely different type of kit when she first stepped out onto the race track.
“Jess started out with the basics; shorts, t-shirt, maybe some tights when they became fashionable and a tracksuit to keep warm between events,” says Toni. “She only had one pair of all-purpose spikes which she used for every event, from javelin to sprint.”
The start of spring brings the promise of warmer weather and longer days, meaning many people will be tempted to dig out their old trainers and hit the track. But, if you plan to be running regularly, it is wise to purchase some well-fitted running shoes for more support.
“When you’re looking at buying a pair of spikes you need to consider the event and the weight of the shoe,” explains Toni. “They usually come in three categories; sprint, middle and long-distance. When we’re training for a long time, doing lots of reps, we use the middle-distance spikes to ease pressure on her ankles.
“The science behind it is spikes retract more energy, so it is not lost in the floor. When you are running in flats you slightly sink into the floor and some energy is lost. In hard spikes you can skip off the surface, so that energy stays with you and you can run faster.”
Jess competes in seven events, each one putting a different demand on her body. This means she needs to be prepared for whatever the event has to throw at her.
“At the top level you need specialist shoes and Jess now has a different pair for almost every event,” says Toni. “They’re all designed slightly differently to enhance your performance in each event. So for the shot-put there is more slide and extra support around the ankles to help her when she spins, while for the jump competitions they’re more robust to protect her foot when she slams down on the board.
“Being an athlete can be expensive and you need to be frugal when you are starting out. I think too many people rush to buy expensive specialist shoes before they’ve even learnt the event. It’s like the saying, ‘All the gear and no idea.’ It’s far better to buy an all-purpose shoe to start with and develop from there.”
Toni’s Top Tips – Weight training
Whether you are lifting weights to improve your sporting performance or just for aesthetic purposes, it is vital you develop a good technique so you don’t injure yourself.
“For beginners I advise joining a gym to receive some proper instruction and start off on the supported weight machines,” says Toni. “We tend to do 15 to 8 reps at around 50-70% of your max weight lift for hypertrophy to build up muscle mass. This is usually quite intensive and has a short recovery time of between 30 seconds to two minutes.
“To build up power and enhance the speed of movement we do 75-85% max weight lift for six to four reps. This has a longer recovery time of between two to five minutes. Finally, for what I call pure strength training, we do 90% of your max lift for no more than three reps. This is so you can get as strong as possible; however, it puts a lot of pressure on the body so we don’t do it very often.”
Follow Toni on twitter @Coach_Toni